Archive for Tuesday, May 21, 2013

House Republican leaders propose 1.5 percent cut to higher education for each of next two fiscal years

May 21, 2013


— Budgets for the state's public universities, including Kansas University, would be cut 1.5 percent for each of the next two fiscal years under a deal approved by Republican budget leaders on Tuesday.

The proposal represented the first perceptible movement toward ending the wrap-up legislative session that started May 8 after a monthlong break.

Negotiations also began on proposed tax changes, although not much headway was made on that issue.

Gov. Sam Brownback met early Tuesday with GOP leaders. Speaking briefly to reporters, Brownback said it was time for the Legislature to finish its business.

"Everybody has to compromise," Brownback said.

A House-Senate budget conference committee pushed forward a spending plan that may be voted on by the full House on Wednesday.

Under the plan, universities would face a 1.5 percent cut for the fiscal year starting July 1, and another 1.5 percent cut for the fiscal year after that.

Prior to the agreement, the House had proposed a 4 percent cut, while the Senate offered a 1 percent cut.

Tim Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs at KU, said he was glad the size of the proposed cut by the House was reduced, but that he still supported Brownback's position opposing cuts to higher education.

"We're moving in the right direction, but we prefer the governor's proposed budget," Caboni said. "There is a ways to go," he said.

Caboni said cuts to higher education could hurt the Kansas economy. But the House's budget leader, state Rep. Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said the 3 percent cut over two years may be the best offer higher education gets.

Rhoades said he felt there was too much wasteful spending in higher education and duplication of effort, and he criticized recent tuition increases.

The House also reduced a proposed cut through the taking of lapsed budget funds, but it was unclear how much the new proposal would cost universities.

The budget will also include a provision aimed at stopping KU from eliminating programs or reducing enrollment at its medical school campuses in Salina or Wichita. When faced with the earlier, larger proposed budget cuts, KU officials had said the reductions may force drastic cuts at those campuses.

On the tax side, Senate Republicans proposed setting the state sales tax at 6.25 percent, phasing out nearly all tax deductions while lowering income tax rates.

The current 6.3 percent state sales tax is scheduled to fall to 5.7 percent on July 1, but Brownback and the Senate have called for making the 6.3 percent rate permanent to shore up the budget crunch caused by last year's income tax cuts, and to buy down future income tax cuts. Republican majorities in the Legislature say income tax cuts will boost the economy, while Democrats have said the cuts will benefit mostly the wealthy and jeopardize important government services, such as public education.

House Republicans had earlier offered to go to a 6 percent state sales tax, and the Senate countered with 6.25 percent.

"We think it's a legitimate offer," said the Senate's chief tax negotiator, Les Donovan, R-Wichita. "It's a path to get out of here," he said.

House tax negotiators said they would come back Wednesday with a counteroffer.

Tuesday was the 88th day of a session that Republican leaders had initially wanted to last only 80 days. But the standoff over spending and taxes has kept legislators in Topeka.


Grump 2 years ago

I think this whole drama was scripted by Sam. Everyone gets to burnish their conservative credentials, but Sam can also be the white-knight who rode in to save higher education from deeper cuts. (Sam wants to be president and knows he can't be if Kansas completely destroys higher education in Kansas under his watch.)

The whole thing is sickening.

George_Braziller 2 years ago

After his disastrous performance as Governor, Sammy doesn't have a chance of being elected for anything. Possibly dog catcher in Hoxie, Kansas at best.

verity 2 years ago

Dogs are too smart to be caught by him. They can smell when a person is evil.

Mike1949 2 years ago

brownback is destroying more than higher education, he is destroying KANSAS! Here is a compromise, resend the tax cuts! Then everything will be on the level Kansas won't be some third world state. Oh, that is right, we are led by right wing extremist bent on destroying Kansas and freedom!

Charles L Bloss Jr 2 years ago

It is Obama that is destroying Kansas, along with the rest of our country.

globehead 2 years ago

You've been drinking way to much Kaw River water Lynn. Obama has had little to no impact on Kansas, probably less than any other state in the country. This state's screw ups are totally of our making.

SpeedRacer 2 years ago

I hear tell some public skool kids done got perfect scores on the ACT - can't be havin' that.

d_prowess 2 years ago

So the staff at KU won't see a raise for 2 years... Great... Given that more companies are hiring again, I am guessing some folks will start looking to go elsewhere.

question4u 2 years ago

"Rhoades said he felt there was too much wasteful spending in higher education and duplication of effort, and he criticized recent tuition increases."

He offered no specifics, but hey, "feeling" that something is true is good enough. From the dumbest legislature that Kansas has ever had you don't expect reason, experienced perspective, or evidence.

What's wrong with Kansas? No need to look any further than Marc Rhoades.

Bob Reinsch 2 years ago

"Everybody has to compromise"... except the puppetmasters that pull Sam's strings. How are the Koch brothers compromising, Governor? Are they not getting the cuts they really hoped for?

Charles L Bloss Jr 2 years ago

Cuts to higher education are fine with me, but they should not include medical schools. We need more doctors, not less.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years ago

Yea, we gotta make sure that the wealthy of Kansas, the only ones who will be able to afford medical care, have all the doctors they need.

JuanValdez 2 years ago

Republicans in Kansas seem to be waging war against education. it is sad to see this happening from a governor who got to where he is with degrees from KState and KU.

It seems Mr. Brownback is determined to close the door behind him and not afford his grandkid generation the opportunities he had as a young man.

Boeing already left Kansas. This kind of hatred towards education and development of new technologies will cause other high paying employers to follow Boeing and relocate to states that have serious commitments to education.

I hope people in the state realize that before the damage is too grave. Republicans like Ike or Dole would never act the way these people are.

Orwell 2 years ago

"Bad business climate" must equate to "insufficient corporate welfare." If a business will come here for a bribe it will just as quickly leave for a bigger bribe.

Larry Sturm 2 years ago

How does the stupid govenor and legislature expect Kansas to be a viable place to live when they keep cutting school budgets.

KSManimal 2 years ago

By selecting a superior raw material to work with (a.k.a. cherry-picking their students).

chootspa 2 years ago

They don't. If you do a little research, you'll see that private schools do no better than public when socioeconomic status is taken into account.

You'll also find that the "with less money" argument is slightly suspect, as many of these schools get funding from sources other tuition, and the expense comparison isn't apples to apples. Private schools often have lower transportation, food, and special education costs.

JohnBrown 2 years ago

As other Tea-Party RINOs and the American Taliban have said, if education contradicts what families teach their kids, then education has to go.

Juan is right, Ike and Dole would never act the way these people are.


verity 2 years ago

How has austerity been working in Europe?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years ago

It's been working out well for German bankers.

yourworstnightmare 2 years ago

"The budget will also include a provision aimed at stopping KU from eliminating programs or reducing enrollment at its medical school campuses in Salina or Wichita."

A 1.5% cut is damaging, but to bar KU from cutting strategically, by including in the legislation a measure that would prevent cuts to Salina and Wichita medical programs, is heavy-handed and insulting.

Maybe the "waste and redundancy" at KU includes medical programs at Wichita and KU, which exist already in Kansas City.

Seth Peterson 2 years ago

It's possible they are preventing cuts to the Salina and Wichita programs in an effort to force them to cut them in Lawrence and KC. As Lawrence is basically the last stand for Democrats in the state, by forcing KU to make cuts in Lawrence it would help dilute that concentration (since they can't really redistrict the city itself to ensure none of the votes out of it matter).

yourworstnightmare 2 years ago

""Everybody has to compromise," Brownback said."

Except on abortion, income tax, and "business incentives".

Orwell 2 years ago

And concentrating all power in a single office.

bad_dog 2 years ago

"House Republicans had earlier offered to go to a 6 percent state sales tax, and the Senate countered with 6.25 percent.

'We think it's a legitimate offer,' said the Senate's chief tax negotiator, Les Donovan, R-Wichita. 'It's a path to get out of here,' he said.

Yes, nothing exhibits the spirit of legitimacy and compromise championed by Donovan and dear Gov. B more than a .05% concession. The key is in the last sentence of the quote. Let me help. Follow that path. Get out of here. Stay away.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years ago

And if they eliminate all student seating and sell those seats to the highest bidder, they'd rake in even more cash. Who needs student fans at a university sporting event, anyway?

LogicMan 2 years ago

What are some specific examples of waste in the state's higher education system?

Betty Bartholomew 2 years ago

Oh yes, let's cut funding to state schools, then also gripe when they raise tuition to make up for it. How in holy hell do they expect schools to function with no money?

Politicians give me rage induced migraines. I'm sending them the bill for some Imitrex.

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